You might have heard about HTML5 and specifically HTML5 Video in the news lately. How the new standard is supposed to replace Flash based video players eventually. Some websites are already experimenting with HTML5 video players including YouTube and Dailymotion.
Two standards are currently competing with each other to become the HTML5 video standard: Ogg Theora and h.264. This would not be such a big deal for computer users if most browser developer's would not have decided to support only one of the two formats.
If you visit YouTube's experimental HTML5 video page you notice that they make use of the h.264 video codec meaning that browsers that only support Ogg will not be able to play the videos. Dailymotion on the other hand supports only Ogg, Theora + Vorbis and not h.264.
This means that users will run into situations where they cannot play HTML5 videos even if they browser supports HTML5 because of the different standards and the fighting that goes along with it. It is especially problematic since users can run into various troubles here.
It is first the choice of web browser that may determine which sites are supported and which are not, and second it is the sites that may only support one of the two technologies instead of both.
Here is a list of web browsers and the HTML5 video formats they support (please note that we have updated the listing below as of November 23, 2016)
Which browser is the best for end users?
Google Chrome 3 and newer versions obviously as it is the only web browser that supports both video standards.
Most browsers support both h.264 and Ogg Theora. Only Microsoft Edge supports h.265 right now. This is one of the reasons why it supports 4K streaming while other browser's don't currently.
Considering that h.265 support is a big step forward, Edge may be the browser of choice for you when it comes to HTML5 video content on the Internet. It is however only available on Windows 10 machines.
Tip: You can check your browser's support for video codecs here.
Update: Mozilla finally came to their senses and has started to implement h.264 support into the browser. First development versions of the browser are already available and it is only a matter of months before all Firefox users get access to h.264 HTML5 video contents as well.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.